Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. That downside risk was realized by Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 42%. That falls noticeably short of the market decline of around 20%. Longer term shareholders haven't suffered as badly, since the stock is down a comparatively less painful 20% in three years.
Since Charter Communications has shed US$2.5b from its value in the past 7 days, let's see if the longer term decline has been driven by the business' economics.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the unfortunate twelve months during which the Charter Communications share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 44%. It's quite possible that growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.
It's surprising to see the share price fall so much, despite the improved EPS. So it's well worth checking out some other metrics, too.
Charter Communications' revenue is actually up 4.8% over the last year. Since the fundamental metrics don't readily explain the share price drop, there might be an opportunity if the market has overreacted.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Charter Communications
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 20% in the twelve months, Charter Communications shareholders did even worse, losing 42%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 3% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Charter Communications you should be aware of.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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